“JANET!” Pheya yelled from her sleep.
“I will smash this your phone o.” she continued, eyes still shut. It was 7am that Saturday, barely an hour after they returned from their all-night academic affairs. Janet’s fingers crawled to reach the phone. Her ring tone had never irritated her like it was. Her fingers were in a hurry to pick but the name of the caller filtered through her sleepy eye lids. Her droopy eyes flipped open at once as the phone started ringing again. Pheya was now more frustrated.
“Pheya! A guy called Sticky Note is calling me”, Janet finally found her voice.
“How is that my biz…” She stopped mid-sentence and shot up from the bed like a brand-new White Walker.
Pheya sat up and urged her to pick up. Janet had missed the third attempt. Their other room mate who got filled in the previous evening warned her against picking it. For the first time after 10 minutes, the room was quiet for 2 minutes at a stretch. They had to weigh their options. The two voices presented their arguments.
“You kept our Momma’s boy waiting for so long that he had to call you” Pheya envisaged.
“How did the contact get to my phone in the first place”, that seemed to concern Janet more.
“What does that change? I put it there”, Pheya confessed dismissing the guilt.
“Don’t forget I memorized the matric number of everyone of relevance in our department. Just 11 digits won’t be a problem.”
“And that is why I have never let you see my pattern. How did unlock my phone?”
“Before taking the selfies after class yesterday. See, these questions are not even the point now. This guy seems so interested”
“Okay, if Momma’s boys drop notes and bad guys call, who drops a note and still calls?”
That question was tougher than the math problems they solved all night. There was dead silence for a few seconds.
“A desperately interested Momma’s boy.” Pheya answered the puzzle with that “Eureka” kind of smile or rather, hopefully.
That sounded right. Janet nodded in agreement or consideration
“Or a Momma’s boy who is a part-time bad guy”, the other roommate smartly suggested. Then, the phone started ringing for the fifth time. Janet won’t risk picking it. She switched off her phone and laid back on her bed. Sleepy Pheya dragged herself back like a zombie with amputated lower limbs, disappointed. The other roommate left the room to do her laundry.
“Pheya, I have an idea” Janet announced but Pheya was already fast asleep. Janet turned to lay on her side, drew the duvet to cover a three quarters of her body and commenced the first stage of Non-REM sleep.
Few minutes past 12 noon, they were both woken up by hunger pangs. They got dressed and once again, set out for the library. They stopped by the cafeteria to eat. Both girls barely said a word to each other. Not because they were quarreling, but Pheya knew Janet so well and when she needed some space.
“Is something strange about that black car?” Pheya was forced to speak.
“No. It was probably coincidence that it was parked outside our hostel when we left and it is also outside the cafeteria now. Someone obviously drove it there.”
Her reply did not satisfy Pheya’s hunch. They finished eating and finally set out for the library. They had barely walked for two minutes that Pheya noticed the car behind them again.
“If two is a coincidence, what is three?” She asked, although she knew what the answer was.
“Ewele! We are being followed”, Janet exclaimed. Before they could move another muscle, the car pulled up by them. The guy by the driver offered them a ride. Staggered, the girls shook their heads and turned into a path on their right and walked as fast as their feet could carry them. The library was in a different direction though.
“Janet, are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Pheya asked, unusually scared.
“I don’t even know what I’m thinking” Janet replied, confused.
Unlike the duo, they talked for hours in the library weighing options. Other users cautioned them a few times. They finally resolved to call James. James arrived in thirty minutes and met them outside with his bag strapped to his back.
“You look horrible!” Pheya couldn’t but observe.
“That’s because I’ve barely slept. You know I told you I won’t sleep until I get that question right. Your call woke me up”, James answered.
“So, did you get it?” Pheya asked
“No, I slept off around noon. But I’m sure that was not why you called me”
“Sticky Note called.” Pheya announced. Janet remained calm, her eyes sweeping through the shelves of the library. She probably hoped one of the books had a line that would end the drama.
“And what does that mean? I thought he wasn’t meant to call.”
“And then someone offered us a ride”, she added.
James was taken aback. He was new to whole sticky sticky thingy but it sounded kind of strange already.
“We want to know who the mystery guy is.” Janet said
“So, how can I help?”
“Find the caller” Pheya replied
“I have shown you how to do that with Truecaller™ na. You don’t have to bother me with these small stuff. When you get some tough firewall to crack, call me” James said and turned to leave.
“We’ve tried that already. The name is for a lady. Bernice something something. We need more details. The SIM probably belongs to someone else or someone saved it that way.”
“Or maybe you have a lesbian on your neck. Janet, it is great you attract both sexes. I mean, who would not be attracted to you? What does the rules say about LGBTQ?”
“Are you are kidding me?”, Janet sounded dazed. This was a new twist.
“Of course, I am. You called the right guy. This means you guys have to show me the solution to the math problem.” He said with a cocky look and brought out his laptop from his backpack, cast a gaze at the ladies for their response. They nodded in agreement.
“If the caller is indeed a student of this school, let us hope the number was updated on the data base. Right here, I am into the library’s database already. Let me search for the phone number.” James soon announced with his usual smug look.
Pheya called it from her head before Janet could even reach for her phone. They both gave Pheya a look. James’ fingers danced on the keyboard for a while. A picture flashed at them and her faced looked familiar. Aside from looking like the university’s fifty naira loaf of bread especially when dunked in tea, the round face reminded them of something else, or someone. The close-up made the person look like a cashew fruit. The passport looked like a poorly taken mugshot or it was just the lady. Her head to body proportion was like that of a cashew nut to its body. Under the picture was the name Bernice Asemota.
“Lady Bermota?” the girls chorused.
They knew the name was synonymous with trouble.